Make It Stop

Entrepreneur Will Save the World by Deigning to Teach One ‘Unjustly Homeless’ Man to Code

The homeless are not bit players in your imaginary entrepreneurial novella.
Hero (Photo: Vimeo)

Hero (Photo: Vimeo)

Is there anything the great, holy gift of Proficiency in Javascript can’t solve? World hunger, human trafficking, terrorism: all plagues that could be easily solved if people just bothered to pick up a copy of Coding for Dummies.

Last week, some graphic designers attempted to eradicate homelessness using twee fonts. Apparently that idea didn’t pan out, because now a New York entrepreneur is also tapping into the market of “treating homeless people like algorithms to be solved.” We’re not sure if the piece is satire, but it certainly reads like it.

In a post called “Finding the unjustly homeless, and teaching them to code,” entrepreneur Patrick McConlogue regales us with his brilliant plan to turn those gross beggars on the street into model programming citizens. But not all gross beggars, just those in whom, like the deserved kingmaker he is, he spies a distinct twinkle of promise:

Every day walking to work in New York City you will see the homeless. Some mentally gone, some drunk, some just making a wage begging.

However, I like to think I can see the few times when it’s a wayward puzzle piece. It’s that feeling you get when you know the waiter, the cashier, the janitor is in the wrong place—they are smart, brilliant even. This is my attempt to fix one of those lost pieces.

Pull back the unkempt clothing and the crippling addiction and it’s almost like there’s a human being under there! A human being who, if he plays his cards right, could be worthy of learning how to code.

But which homeless people deserve to be bestowed with this entrepreneurial gift, and which deserve to continue to be ignored as they retreat further into the dark fringes of society? For Mr. McConlogue, it’s simple: just find the homeless man who exhibits “drive:”

It was epic drive, here was this homeless guy with chains around his neck fighting to not to give up. It was movie poster worthy. It was drive.

Once Mr. McConlogue zeroed in on the homeless man who at this point has never once expressed a desire to 1) Speak with Mr. McConlogue or 2) Become the pet project he can write about condescendingly and in a self-glorifying way on Medium–once he’s located that man, he can reveal his grand plan:

The idea is simple. Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

  1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

  2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day—when he feels prepared—and teach him to code.

As for the justly homeless people? Feel free to sign up for Codecademy.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com